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Paper-Folding using Interactive Geometry Software

Paper-Folding using Interactive Geometry Software

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Published by cmcallister
Generalisation of a Paper-Folding Axiom and its Exploration using Interactive Geometry Software. The geometry of folding paper circles and triangles is explored and simulated. The data files for Geogebra, Dr Geo and CaRMetal on are available for download on http://i2geo.net (search for paper-folding).
Generalisation of a Paper-Folding Axiom and its Exploration using Interactive Geometry Software. The geometry of folding paper circles and triangles is explored and simulated. The data files for Geogebra, Dr Geo and CaRMetal on are available for download on http://i2geo.net (search for paper-folding).

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Published by: cmcallister on Jul 23, 2010
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11/25/2012

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Generalisation of a Paper-Folding Axiom and itsExploration using Interactive Geometry Software
by Colin McAllister22 July 2010
Abstract
The Huzita-Justin paper-folding Axiom 5, adapted for a circle, is explored using interactivegeometry software. The axiom is generalised to other shapes, and applied to a triangle withrounded corners. An interesting configuration of folds is discovered when the triangle isequilateral. The properties of this configuration are explained by drawing a circle, of whichthe folds are diameters. An adjustable simulation of a folded paper triangle is used todemonstrate this explanation. A folding hypothesis is postulated for arbitrary shapes.Acknowledgement
I wish to thank Maria Droujkova, Linda Fahlberg-Stojanovska and my former school teacher Kenneth Blair for sharing their ideas and for their enthusiasm in exploring and teachingmathematics.
1.Introduction
The Huzita-Justin or Huzita-Hatori axioms[1] state the mathematical principles of paper folding or Origami. In the discussionCircle Origami Axioms[2] on theMath 2.0 Interest Group[3], the axioms are adapted for folds on a plane sheet of paper with a circular boundary. Huzita-HatoriAxiom 5 states: “Given two points p1 and p2 and a line l1 we can make a fold that places p1 onto l1and passes through the point p2.” Huzita-Hatori Axiom 5 is adapted as Axiom 5-C for a circle. Itapplies for two points p1 and p2 in a circle, and the possibility of folds through p2 that place p1onto the boundary of the circle. Axiom 5-C states "If the distance between p1 and p2 is greater thanthe distance between p2 and the circle, there are two such folds, if the distances are equal, one suchfold. If the distance between p1 and p2 is smaller than the distance between p2 and the circle, thefold is impossible."I propose generalising Axiom 5-C to shapes more general than circles. What family of shapes doesthe axiom define? Does it restrict the radius of curvature of arc sections of the boundary? Would anangular shape with sharp corners be excluded? Would a starfish (sea star) shape, with inwardcurving corners, be included? We can explore such questions by using interactive geometrysoftware to create, perform and verify geometry experiments. Programs like CaRMetal [5] andGeogebra [6] are flexible tools for teaching mathematics, and they are easy for students to learn [7].I used the CaRMetal cross-platform application for this study. The software is accessed graphicallyvia geometry diagrams that serve as both input and output of the computer programs. The keydiagrams are included in this paper, and explain the evolution of this investigation. The geometryfiles are available for download from the geometry file sharing sitehttp://i2geo.net[4].Page 1 of 10
 
2.Interactive Geometry Software
Geometry software facilitates more abstract imagination of constructions than folding a sheet of  paper. Folding a sheet of paper against itself makes a straight crease. This is equivalent to reflectionof part of the sheet in a straight line on the Euclidean plane. Thus paper folding, which occurs in 3-dimensional space, becomes accessible to geometry software that models a 2-dimensional plane.Geometry software represents each point internally as a pair of floating point numbers, under anorthogonal coordinate system. The components are represented internally as objects, and drawn onthe screen as a diagram. When free points are moved by the mouse, dependent objects areinstantaneously recalculated and redrawn. This interaction facilitates experimental investigation. It provides familiarity with the problems, and confidence in our discoveries and solutions. Such asolution may be useful and educational, but it does not constitute mathematical proof. It may be thefoundation of a mathematical proof, given further analysis, calculation and deduction.
3.Geometric Model of a Folded CircleFigure 1. Geometric Model of Origami Circle Axiom 5-C
Page 2 of 10
 
Paper folding is modelled by configuring the initial points and constraints and defining our problemto be discovery of the folds and image points that satisfy those constrains. We use the tool panel or tool bar of the geometry software to define our problem by building a construction of dependentobjects. An object point and its image on the boundary of the shape define a line segment that can be envisaged as a ray of light. The line of reflection is the perpendicular bisector of the ray, andcorresponds to the fold that would be made on a paper circle. Figure 1 shows a model of Axiom 5-C, constructed using the CaRMetal geometry software. Points p1 and p2 are free to move. Thedashed circle is drawn around p2 and through p1. Intersection of the dashed circle with the boundary circle defines the image points p1' and p1''. The line segments ray' and ray'', represent thetranslation of p1 to the boundary. The origami creases, fold' and fold'', are derived as perpendicularsof ray' and ray''. Folding a paper circle along fold' would place p1 on the boundary at p1'.Alternatively, folding it along fold'' would place p1 on the boundary at p1''. If the dashed circleintersects the boundary of the shape, two folds can be drawn. If the distance from p1 to p2 equalsthe distance from p2 to the nearest point on the boundary, one fold exists, because the two circlesmeet at a single tangent point. If the dashed circle does not intersect the boundary, there is no foldthat solves the problem for the given positions of p1 and p2. Thus the geometry software allows usto explore and solve the problem of identifying the folds of the paper circle.
4.Generalising Axiom 5-C to Shapes other than Circles
The property of Axiom 5-C that most concerns us is that there are no more than two folds. That isnot a natural limit of the axiom for shapes other than circles, so we must devise a way to impose it.The generalised shape that I choose to study is a triangle with rounded corners. For simplicity, Iexamine a triangle with the same radius of curvature on each corner. You could make this shape bytaping three paper plates and three sheets of photocopier paper together. To construct it withcompass and straight edge, draw three identical circles and connect them with three straightsegments that meet the circles at a tangent. The boundary of the shape is composed of one arcsection of each circle, and the line segments that connect them.I propose that Axiom 5-C holds true if the radius of curvature of all arc sections of the boundary isgreater than or equal to the distance between p1 and p2. Each corner has the same radius, so we canenforce this condition by drawing a line segment from p2, of fixed length equal to that radius. Let p1 move along that line segment, inclusive of its end point. This construction is shown in figure 2.Page 3 of 10

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